Aerospace manufacturing energy efficiency through intelligent sensing and control

2018 | Material processing

Student: James Mills

Project aim

To improve operational oversight of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) repair processes using intelligent sensor and data analysis systems. This will be achieved by developing novel methods of repairing CFRP components that have lower energy consumption and costs, as well as an integrated sensor system for in-situ data collection.

Project background

Aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair & overhaul (MRO) processes for carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) components have high capital and operating costs due to the materials used and the energy requirements. These existing processes rely on conservative practices to guarantee the reliability of the components under production or repair. For example, CFRP manufacture or repair processes will have long cure periods as there is no inline monitoring. Repair processes rely on manual inspection, which can allow defects to pass undetected, resulting in greater repair costs at later stages.
By monitoring these processes with appropriate sensor systems and data analysis, it is possible to derive enhanced insights into the component condition and provide intelligent decision support for the operator. The aerospace industry is seeking to harness the potential of connected sensor systems for aerospace processing as part of the larger Industry 4.0 drive across the sector.